Lighting Controls Retrofit Utilizes Existing Panels, Line and Load Wiring

The lighting controls retrofit occurred throughout the entire arena, replacing the Musco Lighting Microlite 1000 relay controls with an Intelligent Lighting Controls (ILC) LightLEEDer relay system.

The lighting controls retrofit occurred throughout the entire arena, replacing the Musco Lighting Microlite 1000 relay controls with an Intelligent Lighting Controls (ILC) LightLEEDer relay system.

Knight Sound & Lighting announced it has completed a lighting controls retrofit for PSSI Stadium Corp.’s Heinz Field Stadium, home of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and the NCAA University of Pittsburgh’s Panthers football teams. The controls retrofit occurred throughout the entire arena, replacing the Musco Lighting Microlite 1000 relay controls with an Intelligent Lighting Controls (ILC) LightLEEDer relay system. The ILC LightLEEDer retrofit panels are fitted into the existing Microlite panels and utilize the existing line and load wiring, allowing for a cost saving retrofit process. Knight Sound & Lighting pioneered the ILC LightLEEDer retrofit as a means for facilities to update to a relay control system with technical support, ongoing technological updates and custom graphics controls including Android (available now) and iOS (coming soon) Mobile App accessibility.

The system was installed and commissioned over a period of eight weeks by Knight Sound & Lighting technicians, Ed Gurski and Mark Knight, working in conjunction with the in-house electricians at Heinz Field. Under Knight Sound & Lighting’s guidance, a crew of two certified electricians from Heinz Field removed the old Microlite 1000 relay and electronic insert panels and installed the new ILC LightLEEDer relay and electronic insert panels. Knight Sound & Lighting provided the lighting control programming, created the custom graphics screens, and performed the system energization. Throughout the process, the site retained full access and functionality for all of its lighting.

The project was facility-wide and included retrofitting 40 Microlite panels with 40 ILC LightLEEDer retrofit panels. These relay panels control the lighting for the playing field, suites, concourses, exterior, offices, corridors, signage, emergency lighting, and bathroom lighting.

Heinz Field was interested in replacing the Microlite system because the system is no longer manufactured and parts replacements are becoming obsolete. Furthermore, there are no longer any updates being made to the Microlite software and the time clock function will not run beyond 2025. In addition, Microlite relay systems require computer control and are only compatible with Windows XP or earlier operating systems. This means there is no access to the security features and functionality offered by Windows 7 or later platforms. For these reasons, several facilities are looking to replace their Microlite System with newer lighting control systems that can operate using today’s technological platforms.

In the case of Heinz Field, the facility was looking for a new relay control system which would provide them with the same functionality as the Microlite 1000, but would also add control of DMX controllable LED lighting fixtures. The stadium was also looking for updated lighting control graphics and wanted the assurance of running its lighting control system on the newest releases of Windows operating systems.

Knight Sound & Lighting proposed that Heinz Field install the ILC LightLEEDer Microlite retrofit product which would provide the functionality that Heinz Field was looking to gain. The ILC LightLEEDer controls work with Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating systems while providing detailed lighting control graphics. The new system also allows for additional control options, including BACnet integration and Android (available now) and iOS (coming soon) Mobile App control. It also provides for DMX input and output, low voltage switching and touchscreen control.

In researching its options, facilities management found that the only real alternative was a complete system replacement. This involved the process of entirely removing the old panels, removing conduit throughout the facility and running new wiring as needed. For a facility the size of Heinz Field, the replacement process would have taken approximately four times as long as the retrofit option, costing the operation critical downtime and an increase in labor hours.

The ILC LightLEEDer retrofit with Knight Sound & Lighting was appealing to Heinz Field because the existing 40 panel system could be retrofitted and operational in approximately four to eight weeks while simultaneously allowing the continued control of the lights during the transition period. During the weeks when the Microlite system was being converted over to the ILC LightLEEDer system, both systems were in use and operational at the same time. Consequently, Heinz Field was able to continue to control all of the lighting throughout the facility without any downtime, including hosting a number of scheduled events that went off without a hitch.

As a football stadium and concert arena, Heinz Field identified a way to make an update to its operations while balancing cost with technology. Knight Sound & Lighting’s ILC retrofit has provided the functionality and integrations that the site was looking for, while minimizing cost and down-time. The arena looks forward to making the most of a customizable system that will be supported now and in the long-run.

Benefits of the ILC LightLEEDer Microlite Retrofit System:

  • Cost savings due to quick installation
  • Transition ease due to similarities between ILC and Microlite systems
  • Advanced graphics screens
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and Window 10
  • Compatible with DMX controlled LED lighting
  • Ability to control via Android app (available now)
  • Ability to control via Apple iOS app (coming soon)
  • Ability to be networked via BACnet or BAS system
  • Compatible with Ethernet connection

Cost Savings Achieved:

  • Re-use existing enclosures
  • Re-use existing cabling and conduit
  • Re-use any existing low voltage switching (if applicable)
  • Reduced downtime/potential loss of income in comparison to a full replacement system
  • Reduced labor time and installation cost
  • Energy savings achieved with an efficient operating system which utilizes time schedules and BAS systems

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